Irony of White Nationalist Tiki Torches Not Lost on Twitter: ‘Stealing From Other Cultures’

“Their tiki torches may be fueled by citronella but their ideas are fueled by hate,” tweets Senator Orrin Hatch

Tiki torches lit the way of white nationalists as they protested the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee on Friday night. And now many observant Twitter users are pointing out the irony of a group of racists using a product with Polynesian roots.

Tiki torches first popped up in the United States in the early 1900s, and gained popularity in the 1950s. “In the 1950s, tiki culture was in full swing. Pacific Island-themed restaurants, bars and even living rooms were all the rage,” Tiki Brand Products’, the manufacturing company of the torches, website says. “At the height of tiki popularity, the first original TIKI® torch was produced, igniting a backyard tradition that still burns brightly over 60 years later.”

Widespread anger over the white supremacist and neo-Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend — which included the death of one counter-protester — was also mixed with mockery on Twitter.

“Having tiki torches at your nazi rally is definitive proof the white race is the best… at stealing from other cultures,” another Twitter user said.

“Few things evoke white pride like Polynesian tiki torches,” another tweeted.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), whose brother fought in World War II, took a shot at the protesters’ use of the torches. “Their tiki torches may be fueled by citronella but their ideas are fueled by hate, and have no place in civil society,” said the Senator on Twitter. “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Tiki Brand Products on Saturday distanced itself from the white nationalist protesters. “TIKI Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville and are deeply saddened and disappointed,” says the brand’s Facebook page. “We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way. Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.”

One observer pointed to another irony, tweeting: “When Tiki torches takes a bolder step against neo-Nazis and white supremacists than the White House.”

Another agreed: “Did Trump really say that he condemns the violence on ‘many sides’? The white folks with tiki torches brought the violence, own it.”

On Saturday, President Trump failed to condemn white nationalists and neo-Nazis. “We condemn in strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence — on many sides,” he said in a statement, which sparked outrage on both sides of the isle.

On Friday, a group of white nationalists gathered to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert. E. Lee. They were met with counter-protestors, and the clashing of the two groups led to violence, which only intensified Saturday. When a vehicle driven by a white nationalist demonstrator plowed into a crowd Saturday, Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal from Virginia, was killed, and 19 others were injured. More than 30 were hurt in total as a result of events at the rally.

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